Entrepreneurship and innovation are the backbone of the South African economy, and it is Proudly South African’s mandate to promote those companies that manufacture, grow or produce local goods and services, creating many thousands of jobs in the process.
The current spate of looting, which has mostly hit township businesses especially hard, is heartbreaking to witness. Small business owners, who have put their heart and soul, not to mention life savings, into enterprises that service the local community in which they are located, have lost everything, including their employees whose services they no longer need, since business premises, equipment and infrastructure have been looted and destroyed.
Lives as well as livelihoods have been lost. In a country that has been battling the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and especially unemployment from even before the current pandemic, we have now taken so many steps backwards, it is hard to see a way forward.
Too much is at stake for us as a country. Too much has now been lost. We wonder how these businesses will recover or even if they will recover.
Buying local supports and creates jobs. Helping yourself to whatever you want and damaging lives in the process, destroys jobs – and lives.
South Africa – this is not the way. The short term and ill-gotten gains that that are being plundered by the few, will be a major setback for hundreds of thousands of our people and their families, that depend on the income that they will now lose. This is going to cost us jobs in sectors including retail, manufacturing and within those respective value chains.
Proudly South African deplores the loss of businesses and jobs that we and business owners have tried so hard to create and to sustain. We need to build and grow the economy, not tear it down.